Ground cover plants do exactly as they say – they cover the ground. The main reason you would want these types of plants in your garden is to make it really hard for weeds to grow. Ground cover plants help to prevent weed germination, meaning one less job on your garden to-do list.
Ground cover plants also keep moisture locked into the ground. How? The more soil that is covered, the less chance any moisture will evaporate. Not only does this save you time, but it also saves you money on your water bill.
What to look for in ground cover plants
Aim for plants which offer good coverage in order to get the best bang for your buck. Some ground cover plants can give you 1ft² of coverage in different situations – add this up and, depending on the space between your existing plants or trees and the size of your garden, you might find that you’ll be able to save more money and time than you previously thought! Finally, gardening will seem easy..
There are ground cover plants to suit a wide range of different areas. Some can even be used as lawns, like Wildflower Meadow, Creeping Thyme and Chamomile.
It will take a little while for your plants to establish, and you’ll need to do some initial weed maintenance while your ground cover plants are still new. However, once the plants become more established, it will be the best coverage you need. I’m tired of seeing so many bare borders of soil around my local neighbourhood – people are just making life more difficult for themselves by not planting more plants!
Here are a few ground cover plant options sorted by position. Browse through and find your perfect planting solution…
Ground cover for moist shade:
Who said ground cover plants had to be boring? Astilbe add a spot of colour to your borders with their tall, fluffy plumes. This plant provides an added bonus of attracting a variety of birds and bees to your garden, and has even been used in a recent royal wedding bouquets (mentioning no names..)
Ground cover for sunny borders:
Osteopermum- Cape Daisy
With a delightful abundance of flowers per plant, the Osteospermum colour spectrum includes pink and white flowers, which pair perfectly with a sunny border. Many newer types are also bred to flower earlier than typical Osteos – the weeds won’t know what they’re in for! Beat them!
Ground cover for dry or moist shade:
If you’re on the search for a more versatile ground cover plant, a collection of Hosta could be a great option. With its decorative foliage, it produces dense mounds which look splendid in your border, and quickly change brown soil to green and golden glory. They often flower too, with scented blossoms like tiny lilies!
Ground cover for dry shade:
If your garden features a dry shade border which you’d like to fill with ground cover plants, consider this little gem, it’s Cyclamen hederifolium, a much sought after plant. Producing delicate pink flowers, these plants suit a well-drained, organic matter-rich soil, but won’t need much watering. You’ll have a fun pink carpet in your garden, every autumn!
Buy it here.
Ground cover for dry sunny banks:
Phlox is a really fun plant to use as ground cover. These hardy, evergreen plants are great for protecting your borders against weeds thanks to their habit of spreading, and creating a close-knit covering. This collection features 6 different coloured varieties, so that you can get super creative with your borders. They even have festivals every year in Japan celebrating the colourful look this plant can create!
Ground cover for summer beds and borders:
Busy Lizzie Florentine (Impatiens)
Brighten your summer garden with these Busy Lizzies. Flowering from June to October, these colourful plants are best suited to well-drained soil and a good feed and water during their flowering period. You may recognise the name, but these new varieties are strong and disease-proof, unlike the Busy Lizzies of yesteryear.
What’s your favourite ground cover plant from this selection? Comment down below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook.